An introduction to Sabbath lifts


We love the variety of lift requests (and the numerous configurations within each lift type) we get involved in at Stannah. Whilst the request for a Shabbat lift tends to be a few, and far between, we’ve given an overview of them in this post.

What is a Shabbat lift? 

Religiously observant Orthodox Jews may not use electrical devices on the Sabbath, and included in this, is the use of a lift. However, they may use a 'Sabbath lift' (or 'Shabbos lift'), a passenger lift that has been configured to stop on every floor automatically, and as such, the buttons need not be pressed, enabling them to use the lift without operating any electrical equipment.

Whilst not common in the UK, Shabbat lifts can be found in synagogues or areas with a large Jewish population, most often in buildings with multiple floors.

Some basic identifiers of a Shabbat lift are:

  • Signage - A lift may be marked with a sign configured for Shabbat observance. 
  • Travel patterns - there are several ways the operation can work (going up and down); stopping at every floor, stopping at alternate floors, or rising to the top floor and stopping while going down or at specific preset floors.
  • Delayed open/close doors - typically configured with an extended door opening time to enable plenty of time for safe exit and entry without the risk of the doors automatically closing. Additionally, some may sound a warning buzzer before the doors close.
  • Buttons - if the lift is only intended for use on the Sabbath, then there may not be floor buttons, or the floor button exists but does not function.
  • Timer - a timer to schedule automatic operation of Shabbos mode.
  • Levelling - taking care of the weighing mechanisms and enabling proper operation of re-levelling.
  • Landing signals - turning off unnecessary signal lights and taking care of floor indicator lights. 

What types of lifts can be configured in shabbos mode?

Passenger lifts can be adapted for Shabbat (automatic mode). Traditional platform lifts are unsuitable due to the constant pressure operation and door configurations.

The type of configuration required will always vary by building and operation required, so here at Stannah, like other lift companies, we always work with the customer to establish the exact requirements for their Shabbat-compliant lift.

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Can an existing lift be configured to a Sabbath mode?

There are no additional servicing requirements for a lift configured in Sabbath mode, and an existing lift could be changed to Shabbat control, though this would involve electrical control panel modifications and would therefore involve some cost.

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How can Stannah help?

At Stannah, we love the variety of lift requests we get involved in and the different possible configurations, including Shabbat lifts. All of our lifts comply with the latest industry standards and can be suited to meet particular requirements. If you want to learn more about how our range of products and services can improve access to your building, click the button below. 

Article last updated 12/07/2022

With over 50,000 installations across the UK and nearly 100,000 units in our service portfolio, we offer a wide range of lift solutions and services to move people and goods. Take a look at our product range or simply get in touch.

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